Auckland pizzeria told to pay-up or stop playing the radio

One Auckland business owner was trying to provide a soundtrack for his staff to improve morale. Instead, he got a stern warning and a demand to pay up.

Your playlist will load after this ad

APRA says as Calimero is a business it needs a licence to play the radio in its stores. Source: Seven Sharp

St Heliers’ Calimero Pizza used to listen to the radio until one day the shop’s owner was sent an email from APRA.

APRA is the organisation that sells licences to play, perform, copy, record or use musician's work.

They said as Calimero was a business it needed a licence to play the radio in its stores.

“I think it was $179 to play the radio in the shop,” Calimero Pizza owner Jeremy Medlin told Seven Sharp.

He’s not alone, APRA stated that other businesses such as bars, shopping malls, gyms and dance schools all have to pay to listen.

“We are a very small business at the end of the day, and I assume that the radio has advertising and have royalties we are allowed to play the radio,” Medlin says.

Head of APRA New Zealand Anthony Healey explained the rules to Seven Sharp.

“Basically, what the law says is if the music is played in public then the permission of the artist and record label concerned needs to be obtained.

“The one music licence is the simple and easy way of getting that permission on behalf of a world’s repertoire of music,” Healey explained.

He says Calimero Pizza wasn’t targeted when asked what about the thousands of other businesses playing the radio without paying a licensing fee.

“We work with organisations up and down the country to make sure to let businesses know what those obligations are.”

Healey says the payment varies on the size of the business, for examples supermarkets might pay thousands of dollars a year.

For his part, Medlin won’t be having the radio on at his pizzeria anymore.